What I Learned in Grad School

An Essay By Hannah D. // 6/6/2018

Environmental Toxicology
Apparently, grad school is supposed to teach you to get comfortable speaking authoritatively on subjects you know next to nothing about.

Physical Oceanography
physics + math + oceans = the absolutest most coolest subject ever

Marine Geology
Much of geology is getting outside on a beautiful day, taking leisurely strolls, examining rocks with hand lenses, and telling stories about what you find. It's really rather nice.

Applied Biological Oceanography
You are finally starting to realize it's ok to not know everything. And realizing that what little you do know is giving you a serious boost. Also, answers to antibiotic resistant bacteria may be found in ocean bacteria. And anti-cancer stuff. And anti-Alzheimer's. Plus biofuels. And cosmetics!

Data Analysis
Programming is this wild, otherworldly place where things are simultaneously unbelievably frustrating, sunglasses-worthy cool, and - once you finally 'GET' it - stupidly obvious.

Chemical Oceanography
There are lots of particles floating around in the ocean. They can tell you lots of things.

Biological Oceanography
Wow, biology can actually be just as rigorous as physics. Who knew?

Marine Microbial Ecology
There are bacteria that breathe rocks. I mean, I had heard of chemolithotrophy before. I just never heard it explained that way.

Applied Physical Oceanography
On the one hand, you get to hang out with friends and discuss the physics, oceanography, and atmospheric science of El Nino (and, in case it's not obvious - that's really cool!) On the other, you have to keep reminding each other that this is just an elective and you should not be putting so many hours into it. This is supposed to be a take-it-easy kind of class. Riiiiiiiight.

Lab in General
You are going to mess up. It's going to be ok. Own up and move on.

Lab becomes a lot less stressful once you start thinking about it like a kitchen.

Once you get the hang of it, much of lab is kind of just . . . waiting around.

School In General
It is not uncommon (in a graduate classroom) for a professor to be unable to answer your question. In such a case, another student may jump in and answer it instead. Or if a professor gives an answer a grad student isn't ok with, the student may jump in and contradict. It is not uncommon for the professor to have a change of mind and agree with said student.

The number one skill setting undergraduates and graduates apart is the ability to conduct a presentation without a shaky voice, a peculiar use of eye contact, and/or an incredibly fidgety hand constantly scratching one's head or elbow or shoulder blade in a manner that betrays the speaker's sheer lack of confidence whilst public speaking.

As it turns out, grad school is notoriously stressful - for lots of people. Don't add to that stress thinking you're the only one struggling as much as you are, whether those struggles are academic or personal or otherwise.

Life In General
There is absolutely nothing like connecting and engaging and serving in a church with a vibrant, Christ-centered community. Absolutely nothing like it.

Boys think you are incredibly cool if you can drive a stick. Especially if that stick is in a cute little sportscar.

Salseros are some of the sweetest (and smoothest) guys on the planet.

There is no such thing as “not enough time.” You make time for things you care about. It's best to simply cut out the unnecessary if you start to feel tugged in too many directions.

Holding a baby is one of life’s greatest joys.

Receiving a friend's handwritten letter is one of life's sweetest pleasures.

Brothers make the best kinds of friends, and getting advice from a guy (you can trust) who's your age is invaluable. He is always there for you. Remember to always be there for him.

Comments

I had to laugh as I read

I had to laugh as I read through this. But I also found myself connecting. It's just "common stuff", (if I can put it that way), but the way you write it makes it real, like I should care about it . I just have to say:

Receiving a friend's handwritten letter is one of life's sweetest pleasures.

I totally agree!

Libby | Sat, 06/30/2018

“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation.
Therefore, suffer, yes. Be misunderstood, yes. Be shamed, yes. But do not be ashamed. For the joy set before you, take up your cross, follow Jesus, be shamed and despise the shame!" -- John Piper

I’m glad it made you smile!!

I’m glad it made you smile!! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :)

Hannah D. | Sun, 07/01/2018

"Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." - G. K. Chesterton

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